eBay surveys sellers on fulfillment service

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fulfillmentAuctionbytes has an interesting story on a survey that eBay is running, asking sellers if they would be interested in using an outsourced fulfillment service. Sellers would ship larger quantities of product to eFulfillment Service, who would in turn ship individual orders to customers, thus saving sellers time spent on packing, and money sent on storage space – though obviously, eFulfillment would be a pay-for service.

eBay surveyed sellers last year on whether they would be interested in a fulfillment service, though the earlier survey was much less specific than this latest one and didn’t mention any particular service provider. Last month, analyst Stephen Ju called for eBay to launch a fulfillment program similar to Amazon’s FBA.

What I found particularly interesting here are the apparent terms of the fulfillment program, which one survey-taker reported to Ina as including:

* improved search exposure on eBay for listings that used the fulfillment service;
* no low (1 or 2) Shipping DSR ratings for those orders.

If we needed proof of what a farce DSRs have become, there it is. Feedback is meant to be the buyer’s view of the transaction: is eBay really saying that things can never go wrong with a fulfillment service? Or would this be just a bribe to use the new service? I think we know the answer there.

So far, this programme seems to be aimed at US sellers only. With those terms, if you’re in the US, are you interested? If you’re elsewhere, would you use “Fulfillment by eBay” if available where you are?

16 Responses

  1. If eBay gave improved search exposure on eBay for listings that used the fulfillment service and no low (1 or 2) Shipping DSR ratings for those orders, it shows you how bad their fulfillment service would be.

  2. eBay has the most compelling offer – respected and acknowledged world wide reach.

    But there are a whole host of categories for which the current direction of eBay just does not fit.

    The sooner that eBay splits into the 2 separate factions the better.

    The only 2 questions are which bits and when?

    I will start with 2 (possibly) most opposing factions and let others decide what goes in between and so where the split should be made.

    New shoes v antiques.

    eBay please bring it on now, cos if you do not others will probably take much of your business !!!!

  3. What a LOUSY idea! What a pity that eBay of late seems intent on aping Amazon, when originally the thinking was “we’re glad we don’t have all that brick and mortar”. Whatever happened to being a marketplace — first and foremost, “just a venue”?

    And to give increased exposure in Search is just heinous. There are many small sellers for whom a fulfillment service is not an option, especially those who sell more one-offs than multiples of any particular item.

    As for what it says about DSRs — yes, it makes them seem a farce, at best.

    I love eBay, but I don’t love the idea of fulfillment by eBay.Can a fulfillment service provide the same thoughtful packaging as the actual seller? Would you really trust them to do so?

    EBay was founded on the idea that individuals could trade with each other worldwide. Why must that trading community be increasingly sacrificed to faceless corporate entities?

  4. Buyers aren’t stupid. If they get blocked from leaving a low shipping DSR where it’s justified, they will merely mark down the other ones, and will be more likely to neg in annoyance too.

    I have absolutely no problem with volume sellers getting a different charging structure, but manipulation of a supposedly common service standard indicator (for all its flaws) is dishonest.

    Since fulfillment will necessarily involve couriers, how can it be right that sellers who don’t use FBE can be and are penalised when the courier gets it wrong, but exactly the same failure duing FBE is exempt?

  5. Couple of thoughts:-

    * improved search exposure on eBay for listings that used the fulfillment service; = Bribe

    * no low (1 or 2) Shipping DSR ratings for those orders. = We acknowledge we couldn’t run a p*ss up in a brewery

  6. And, as we all know, Best Match is the most perfect system known to man, so why would FBE items need special additional search promotion?

  7. I can kind of understand the idea of this feedback manipulation but I’d say the only fair way to do it would be to allow the buyer to leave the 1 or 2 but then not use that as a strike against the seller’s account. As in they shouldn’t risk suspension due to using an eBay developed product that fails but buyers still have a right to know that the seller is using a service that doesn’t satisfy others.

  8. But large slabs of ebay-developed products fail on a regular basis:

    The messaging system, for example.

    Why should FBE get special treatment?

  9. With Ebay’s track record of sheer bungling I can only imagine the horror that this fulfillment service will be! I find myself desperate to “beef up” listings on other sites and to try to direct traffic to those sites. I think at this point its all we can do to escape Ebay’s present madness! Here, in the US, Ebay’s US marketplace is stagnant and spinning its wheels. Even with free listing fees we have little traffic and few sales.

  10. We should welcome ebay opening up their business to suggestions from their customers (sellers). It should be commended. At the end of the day FBA is offered by Amazon, and it boosts listings in search, and allows access to Prime (free shipping), but I dont use it (yet!). More options for sellers = more opportunities to improve your business, but it can all be done in a timescale that’s suitable to you.

    Amazon survey their sellers, and I bet they went down this route a few yrs back. Well done to ebay I say!

  11. This service sounds like an excellent idea, however there is just one drawback. I don’t trust ebay or any of it’s divisions.

    I get asked a lot by Amazon to join their FBA prog. I always decline because I don’t trust them either, but for completely different reasons than ebay.

    Both companies have inspired this lack of trust by their actions towards sellers over the years. If you treeat someone like an enemy or a rival they tend not to want to join you in joint ventures ….

  12. Amazon Advantage is a program for publishers where Amazon buy the stock, not really a fulfillment program and northing to do with FBA.

  13. what a great idea we could cut out the middle man altogether ie me the seller,never get a neg and make ourselves trs, any one that doesnt go for it never gets a look in but we keep getting their listing fees why didnt we think of this before we dont even need to give good sevice




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